PALO, Leyte, Jan. 30, 2015 -– Sharing the grief of the families of the forty-four members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) killed in a “misencounter” with guerrillas in Mamasapano, Maguindano, priests in Eastern Visayas offer daily Masses for the eternal repose of the fatalities, some of whom hail from the said region.
Commencing Tuesday, Fr. Apolinario Abing has been celebrating daily Masses at the PNP Chapel for all the police officers who perished in the bloody clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Sunday, Jan. 25. He said the Eucharistic celebrations for the deceased will go on for two weeks.
Fallen heroes from Leyte
Other priests in the Archdiocese of Palo, like Fr. Isagani Petilos, have also been offering their Masses for the slain men in uniform. Petilos, head of Archdiocesan Pastoral Social Action commission, was deeply saddened by the kind of death suffered by the PNP-SAF members.
Six of these cops, whom the country now recognizes as fallen heroes, are said to be from Eastern Visayas. Three have so far been identified, namely: PO2 Noel Nebrida Balaca of Oras, Eastern Samar; PO2 Glenn Bedua of Dulag, Leyte; PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla of Eastern Samar; PO1 Joseph Gumatay Sagonoy; PO2 Rodel Eva Ramacula; PO1 Mark Lory Orioque Clemencio of Carigara, Leyte. Clemencio was a former IT professor of STI and of the Eastern Visayas State University in Tacloban City before joining the PNP.
Abing, who holds the police rank of chief inspector, refused to comment on the carnage, but assured the bereaved families and friends of daily prayers for the PNP-SAF commandos.
The municipal government of Carigara, the place of origin of PO2 Clemencio, is tentatively set to hold a simple rite on Feb. 2 to honor his valiance.
Meanwhile, as in all PNP offices and detachments, flags in halls of justice across the archipelago are at half-mast in honor of the deaths of the 44 policemen.
The PNP-SAF commandos were reportedly serving a warrant of arrest against two international terrorists Malaysian bombmaker and Jemaah Islamiyah member Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as “Marwan” and Filipino Bassit Usman. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)